Longtime local foodies fondly recall chef Milos Cihelka, perhaps the area’s first (and at the time, only?) celebrity chef. After stints at the Roostertail, Detroit Athletic Club, and the London Chop House, the Czechoslovakian native held court at The Golden Mushroom, where he featured a wild game dish every day.
But not everyone knew he was also an accomplished hunter and fisherman. Cihelka’s new book Cooking Wild Game and Fish with Chef Milos aims to educate sporting types and chefs how to properly handle and prepare what’s been harvested from the wild.
Cihelka points out that many enthusiasts catch and release much of their bounty, and most hunters take their game to processors. He adds that many chefs are hesitant to feature wild game.
“It seems that everyone knows about aging beef, wine, and cheese, but few understand the importance of aging wild game,” he writes. He points out that aged steaks are fine restaurant (and even Wal-Mart) staples.
The book goes into great detail of how to take a successful hunt from the field to table, including step-by-step instructions and photos on how to properly break down and butcher wild game.
Once prepped, it’s time to get in the kitchen. And that’s where the book really shines. Recipes include dishes such as venison stroganoff and braised black bear. But it’s not just for big game hunters. There are sections on side dishes, and marinades, sauces, plus recipes for small game, fish, seafood, and poultry — even the kind found at the local grocery store. — Steve Wilke
Find Cihelka’s book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble; $48.99. Signed copies are available at Steve and Rocky’s restaurant in Novi and Rocky’s in Northville.